Don't Panic - Megan's BookLikes

I really like books. Some favorites: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (duh), Pride & Prejudice, The Martian Chronicles, True Grit, The Idiot, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and so on. I tend to be pretty eclectic in my reading habits. I definitely favor sci-fi & fantasy, classic literature, YA fiction, memoirs, and non-fiction (usually art-, craft-, or history- related). I might have a book hoarding problem, but that's okay. I don't mind.

this would be the best thing ever
this would be the best thing ever

A Quarter Life Crisis Girl's Reading List

Just thought I'd add some of my book-related pins from Pinterest to liven my page up a bit on here...

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

Ray Bradbury

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman This was my first Neil Gaiman novel (I've only read Coraline before) and I have to say, I'm thoroughly impressed. This man can build some pretty fantastic worlds and has such an amazing imagination, it makes reading his stories such an experience. I like that he seems to be drawn to the dark and macabre and that his characters don't seem too innocent or pristine. They're real people in fantastical worlds and it makes such an interesting contrast. It's easy to imagine yourself in their shoes, which is exhilarating since everything happening to the characters is so other-worldly and magical and at the same time terrifying. I need to read some more of his books asap.
The Walking Dead, Book Eight - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Rus Wooton I'm starting to have a real hard time keeping up with all the characters and the plot in this comic series, especially with the TV show starting back up today. Plus, I'm sadly starting to lose interest in The Walking Dead as a whole because it's just gone on for so long now that it's hard to care so much anymore. I'm just hoping Kirkman wraps things up pretty soon so I can have some nice closure and move on to something else. Book 8 is mainly about people drama with very few zombies, but there is a lot of conflict and fighting to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, Carl survives his gunshot wound to the left side of his whole face and he continues his shenanigans of always wandering off and getting into shit he shouldn't be in (oh Carl, I would slap you so hard...). Meanwhile, Rick starts to get his romance on with a surprisingly good match for him. The high point is when the gang finds a well-stocked, highly-populated community called The Hilltop. It's hard to trust anyone in this post-apocalyptic world, but I'm hoping they can trust these new people and come to an agreement and start setting down some roots (and get to that conclusion I was talking about). The leader will probably end up being some psycho cult leader who wants to offer them all as human sacrifices or something though, so we'll see. I really wish Kirkman would get back to that zombie tangent from past books where they were starting to act weird and keel over, like the zombie virus was about to move on to another phase or die out or something. Hopefully the next installment will be less about human drama and more about the zombie apocalypse. (P. S. Did anyone else read Rick's final stirring monologue in the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech? No? Okay, I'll just go over here in the corner and continue being a weirdo...)
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game - Jeff Lemire I thought this was an excellent series - 4 stars overall. The final volume kept a knot in my stomach until its final peaceful, contemplative frames. I actually really enjoyed the ending even though it was a tad bit dramatic and sappy. It reminded me of the poem, "this is the way the world ends...not with a bang but a whimper." In fact, "The Hollow Men" is a great comparison for these comics. After everything the characters go through, so much pain and gore and death, even if they become hardened and evil from their surroundings, in the end they're still just people. And all people (man, woman, or hybrid) will someday die. They're all equals when it comes to death, and there's nothing glorious or glamorous about it.

"The Walking Dead" is also the top comparison I thought of while reading this series, and if you liked one you'll most probably enjoy the other. What I love about both of these series though is that they shine a light on humankind and study it, warning readers of what we can become and just how evil we can be (and on the flip side, also how good we can potentially be). I really enjoy these types of forewarning, post-apocalyptic story lines. They're good for self-reflection and also for a sort of sick excitement from what could possibly go wrong with society. Anyway, highly recommend.
Sweet Tooth Volume 5: Unnatural Habitat TP (MR) - Jeff Lemire This one was a bit slower, more back story than action, but we're finally getting down to the meat and bones of the mystery of the plague, hybrid kids, and Gus's origins. I didn't really care for the illustration and typography style they used for "The Taxidermist," but it was a pretty interesting story. My favorite part was probably the humor and irony of the two hockey players coming back together in the middle of the apocalypse. It makes you realize how surreal that must've felt and how easily this horrible, cruel new world becomes the only thing you can remember. Only one more volume left!
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 4: Endangered Species - Jeff Lemire The excitement continues... I really enjoyed the collaborating artists' contributions in this volume, especially the watercolor parts. It added nice variety and some much-needed softness in the more quiet, tender parts of the book. Still really enjoying this series and looking forward to the conclusion.
The Secret of the Old Clock - Russell H. Tandy, Sara Paretsky, Carolyn Keene Another of the books I never read as a kid but wish I had (see also: [book: Little House in the Big Woods] et al). I think I probably would've enjoyed it as a child. It features an easy to follow, exciting mystery featuring a well-to-do teenage girl. That's something I probably could've gotten behind. I enjoyed Harriet the Spy, so that's pretty much the same thing (i.e. young sleuthing). It reads like a beginning reader's book though, so it's a little hard to get into when you're a grown-ass woman. I'll be sure to add it to the list of books I will be pushing onto my soon-to-be-born niece once she's old enough to read. That girl's gonna be a super nerd if Aunt Megan has her way, muwahaha.
Beautiful Creatures: The Manga - Kami Garcia,  'Margaret Stohl' I've been slightly curious about this series since the books and movie have been so popular, so when I saw this at the library I figured what the hell. At least now I know that this series isn't for me. I do see the appeal for young'uns and teenagers however, and I did actually like the artwork of this manga/graphic novel adaptation. However, there were huge plot holes and inconsistencies (I kept thinking I had skipped pages because the jumps in dialogue made no sense). This could be because this is probably targeted for fans of the series who have already read the books, I don't know. I just didn't care for it. It was one of those "meh" books. Like I wouldn't go through the trouble of actually renting the movie, but I wouldn't be opposed if someone just turned it on in front of my face. If that makes sense.
The 100 Best Poems of All Time - Leslie Pockell If these are the best 100 poems of all time, then I'm even less a fan of poetry than I thought. I've always wanted to like poetry - it's a beautiful concept and seems so romantic and complicated...but it can be really boring and tedious. And a lot of it goes right over my head. I made myself read every single one of these though in hopes that I would gain a better understanding and appreciation for poetry, but unfortunately my experiment failed. I wasn't at all familiar with over half of the poems and poets included in this collection, which was really disappointing. In an "all time" list you expect to have at least heard of most of the works, right? The handful of poems that I remembered studying in either high school or college were highly enjoyable to read again, maybe because I actually learned about them back in the day. The rest, I could take or leave em. I guess I should just pick a better anthology next time.
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 3: Animal Armies - Jeff Lemire Whew, there was no shortage of gore in this volume. Definitely a lot more action here as Jepperd raises an army to free the hybrid children from "The Preserve" and maybe even get revenge on Mr. Abbot. Meanwhile, Dr. Singh is getting closer to solving the puzzle of where Sweet Tooth came from and how he might be connected to the plague. There's also an asshole wildcard character with a pack of wolf hybrids who reminds me a bit of The Governor from The Walking Dead. I wasn't sure what to expect with him, but it was definitely a nail-biter. I really enjoy the passion that these characters all have - Lemire does an excellent job of making all of his characters seem real, with back stories that are always ringing in the back of their minds, and you can tell! It's so easy (especially in comics) to just let some of the less important characters remain flat, stereotypical, listless props that only move and react when the story warrants it, but I haven't seen any of that in this series so far. I am becoming a bit hesitant about this whole crazy religion that's developing around Sweet Tooth's father's cryptic, prophetic "Bible." I'm looking forward to what's going on there but I hope Gus isn't actually some kind of immaculately concepted prophet. We will see...
Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury - Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jacquelyn Mitchard, David Morrell, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Julia Keller, Bayo Ojikutu, Charles Yu, Jay Bonansinga, Lee Martin, John Maclay, Joe Hill, Bonnie Jo Campbell, John McNally, Dan Chaon, Kelly Link, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas F. Mon I'm really torn between 4 and 5 stars on this one. As far as short story collections go, this is pretty much 5 stars (there were only a few stories that I really didn't care for, and I read all but one of them). I think the only one I skipped was "Two of a Kind" by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It just seemed to go on and on forever about how each person was related to other people, just a bunch of ramble about familial ties and I didn't have the patience for it (and that impatience for complicated family trees is one of the main reasons I have been hesitant about starting the A Song of Ice and Fire series, sadly). But other than that and a couple other stories in which I didn't recognize the Bradbury references, this book was stellar. At the end of each story, there's a short blurb from the author about how Ray Bradbury inspired them to be the writers they are today and how magical he was to them as kids when they first discovered him. I thought that was so amazing to read about, how much one of my own favorite authors has affected others (especially such impressive authors like Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman). I also found new authors to research and read because of this book, like Sam Weller, Joe Hill, and Dan Chaon. I was kind of blown away by their stories. I looked forward to each free moment I had to get back to this book. It recreated the spark and imagination that Bradbury has always invoked in me while I read his work. This was an amazing project and I'm so glad Mr. Bradbury got to see this glimpse of how much he meant to so many of us before he passed on. For any fans of Ray Bradbury, I highly recommend this book.

4.5 stars
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 2: In Captivity - Jeff Lemire This is such a good series. I regret not requesting all the issues my library had to tide me over the long weekend. In this second volume, we get Jepperd's back story and the grizzly life that's turned him into the badass killing machine he is now. I liked that we got to see him so vulnerable and caring with his wife. It gave him a lot more dimension and character, instead of him just being a hulking piece of raging meat. We also got a peek into Sweet Tooth's childhood and some startling clues about what caused the plague and how he and all the other hybrids are connected to it. I'm ready to find out what caused the sickness, where Gus came from, and whether Jepperd will take Gus under his wing McCarthy's The Road style.
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods - Jeff Lemire I read this before going to sleep the other night and it was an awesome bedtime story. This looks like the beginning of an amazing series, and a must-read for fans of The Walking Dead. In a post-apocalyptic world, after some kind of mysterious "accident" seven years ago, everyone has become infected with what appears to be a consumption-like disease which is killing everyone off. The only ones who are immune to the sickness are the children born after the accident, hybrids of humans and animals. Now, humans have been killing off the hybrids, capturing and studying them to figure out a cure or antidote. Gus ("Sweet Tooth") is one such hybrid, and after his father finally succumbs to the sickness, he is left completely alone and unprepared to face what lies outside of the woods. There are some really interesting characters here and an intriguing plot. I'm looking forward to the next issue!

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